God’s Own Prods: Celebrating Kerala’s New-gen Music Producers

Do you know what the role of a music producer is? A few months ago, a friend and I were talking about pop music of the early 2000s. I mentioned David Guetta, and my friend said, “Oh, he’s such a great prod, don’t you think?” To which my reflex answer was “Yeah, why not?”.

Did I understand what he meant? Well… I did agree with the “great” part, but wasn’t really aware of the second word – “prod”. 

Like any millennial would, I just googled it up at the first opportunity. And I got this:

Now, not even one of these definitions could accommodate David Guetta. I got curious, and so I dug deeper…

The Wikipedia definition caught my attention. Damn! The description made it fairly clear that the role of a producer was one that’s instrumental to any track. 

Of course, the immediate next question that popped in my head was – “Wait, isn’t all this done by the music composer?”

I did some reading about this. Turns out that traditionally, the music composer is one who composes the melody on which the lyrics are written. He directs the musicians and singers during recordings. But how this music is going to sound, is taken care of by the music producer. Music production is a more technical domain that requires a knowledge of software and sounds. In many cases, all these things are done by the same person. In India, we tend to conveniently give all this business an umbrella term – “music direction”. 

Also Read: God’s Own Bands: A Tribute To The Bands That ‘Rocked’ Kerala Over The Years

The Malayalam Indie scene has boomed in the last few years. A major reason has to be the increase in the quality of sound that has come out of these channels. Sounds that accompany the tracks have become more varied, refined and experimental. There is a young crop of aspiring musicians leading this change from the front, and we ought to give them credit. Here are a few of our favourite music producers from Kerala!

Arcado 

Ever since his school senior Jayasoorya SJ introduced him to music production, Anand Seetharaman has been actively creating tunes. Despite pursuing an education in journalism, he has found time to create a diverse array of tracks in the last few years. With two mammoth hits, Malayali Da and Pani Paali, he has become a familiar name among Malayali music enthusiasts. His vision, he says, “is to not have an end goal, but to keep expanding horizons and keep learning and growing”. On the work front, he has just announced Pani Paali 2 and we couldn’t be more excited!

Ribin Richard

Ribin started DJing and producing in 2009, primarily getting recognised for his remixes of popular Hindi and Malayalam songs. He was ranked #2 Music Producer in India by AIDC in 2014. Tracks like Chekuthan and Naadan Vibe are testaments to the fact that he is a frontrunner in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene down South! 

6091

Growing up, 6091 was exposed to music in its complete authenticity – from festival music to folk music to Carnatic classical music. Everything about what he heard, especially the rhythms of percussion, got him to deep-dive into how these sounds are produced. Eventually, he started experimenting with tracks based on the sounds that inspired him. Kummati is a testament to the man’s fascination with his roots. He aims to keep making trial-and-error experiments across genres. A name (or number?) to look out for, indeed!

Also Read: God’s Own Indies: Celebrating Our Finest Singer-Songwriters

Thudwiser

This part-entrepreneur part-producer from Thrissur started out by doing DJ gigs and slowly self-learnt the nitty-gritties of music production. He made a smashing debut last year with the viral Blue Bucket Rebirth. While a major chunk of his discography features recurring collaborator Thirumali, he has also worked with talents such as Vedan and Imbachi (Steet Academics). He likes to operate in the hip-hop and trap music space. 

Parimal Shais

This Kochi-based electronic music producer had a blazing debut with Kumari Kandam Traps. It was a 15-track “Dravidian album” that saw him collaborate with a wide range of artists; from Thirumali to Hanumankind to Cartel Madras. Speaking to FTC magazine, he describes his music as “South Indian trap” – a genre heavily influenced by sounds from South India. More recently, he has worked on Curry Chatti Beats, a series of collaborative tracks that he has sampled from old Indian movie clips. Do check it out – Heavy dollops of nostalgia guaranteed!

Also Read: God’s Own Hands: Celebrating Our Finest Instrumentalists

Kalla Sha

It was while pursuing a sound engineering course that Sha was bitten by the hip-hop bug. He attributes Eminem, Dr. Dre, Getsonmade, Kato and Zytoven beats as his major inspirations. Over time, with a little help from his prod friend Akash Shravan, he learnt the ins and outs of creating good sound. Today he has a solid niche in trap, old-school and drill beats. With tracks such as Straight Outta Kerala, Chocolate, Vaevu and Neruppu Kumar, Sha has a prominent voice in the Southside scene.  

Pina Colada Blues

It was during college that Kevin Shaji began to experiment with music production software. In his final year, he made a dashing debut with Thenale, which was a fitting teaser to the kind of hybrid zone he operates in. His music has touches of dream pop, electro-pop, traps as well as Carnatic-infused Western styles. His recent album Once Upon a Blue Moon is a testament to his versatility, and he’s definitely here to stay!

V3K

Apart from being a pivotal member of Kerala’s OG hip-hop crew Street Academics, Vivek Radhakrishnan aka V3K is also an independent music producer. He has, over the years, created a strong repertoire of what he tags as ‘experimental electronic music’. He also happens to be one of the pioneers of music production in Kerala, having released a full-fledged album Psychle Edukk in 2012! 

You might also like: PinkLungi Billboard: Best Of Indie Music In 2020

Honorary mentions

  • Jayasoorya SJ (Jay Stellar): This Trivandrum-based music composer and producer has been instrumental to the southside hip-hop boom, supporting upcoming artists via the Kalaman Collective. 
  • Dan Pearson: Inspired by the likes of Metro Booming and Murda Beats, Dan is yet another young gun who has already worked with some of the biggest names in the biz.
  • Simhakutty: This self-taught producer is one of the latest entrants to the scene, debuting with Beat Tape, a delightful blend of ethnic and trap beats. Do check out his IG for some fun flips of popular Malayalam music!
  • Ashic Arun: His take on Chekele is testament enough to prove that he has a knack of delivering experimental music. Over the years he has worked with some big names like K S Chitra, Benny Dayal and Shreya Ghoshal. 

Also Read: Kerala Hip-Hop: The Dance Nation You Didn’t Know Of

Do check out the works of every artist mentioned in the list. The sheer quality will leave you wanting more! We are bang in the middle of an indie spring down South, so you won’t have to wait too long! 😀

Navaneethakrishnan Unnikrishnan
When I'm not working or sleeping, I'm mostly observing people and making notes on my phone for content. (Hope to be) Your go-to man for laughs, good music and useless trivia around movies.

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